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ATH-M50 vs ATH-M50S LE impressions - Page 2

post #16 of 176
Thread Starter 

It's my dad's, so I can't mess with it more than listening, but when I tried to stretch the cord, it could only extend to about twice the original length at most. I tried to connect the M50S to an extension cable to see if it would change the sound quality (at this point, it's roughly 4x the original length of the coiled cord), and that didn't seem to do anything at all.

post #17 of 176

Its Funny, i have ONLY listened to the silver m50LE and i thought it sounded spectacular.

They dont fit the description i read of the normals, i didnt find them sibilant at all.

post #18 of 176
Originally Posted by Bill-P View Post

Audio Technica actually had someone ask about this on their website a while ago from what I can see, and their response was for the inquirer to call the number 800-567-3275.


Here's the original response:



Yup, saw that almost immediately after my post. Sent an e-mail off, got a reply back today, and apparently my favourite local shop can order them in. Now if they'll do it for >$200, I might not have a reason to say no.

post #19 of 176
Thread Starter 

Originally Posted by mingamo View Post

Its Funny, i have ONLY listened to the silver m50LE and i thought it sounded spectacular.

They dont fit the description i read of the normals, i didnt find them sibilant at all.

I concur. Right out of the box, the LE sounds a lot less sibilant than the regular. These are the most controlled highs I have heard. It's very bright and extending, but at the same time, it's not sibilant. I never thought that there existed a pair of closed can that could do this. The only pair that I heard that was just slightly more extending was the DT880, but that one didn't feel as bright.


Originally Posted by Aglets View Post


Yup, saw that almost immediately after my post. Sent an e-mail off, got a reply back today, and apparently my favourite local shop can order them in. Now if they'll do it for >$200, I might not have a reason to say no.


You mean <$200? I got my pair for $150 here. It's a good deal considering the price of the regular.




In any case, it's been many days now. These have had over 100 hours of music, movie sounds, system sounds (from my MacBook), and other kinds of sounds run through them, and now I can safely say that they are superior to the regular in every way. Bass quantity, quality, mid presence, high extension, no sibilance, and sound stage is a lot wider and deeper now. The difference compared to the regular pair is very obvious now.


For instance, Rodrigo y Gabriela's Hanuman (11:11 version)


On the regular, every tap on the guitar feels like a clogged up thump on top of my head, like someone stuffed a woofer into a cardboard box, closed it, and then put it on a shelf above me. In contrast, the LE correctly identified the position of the taps (left overpowering right, even though the tap could be heard from the right as well), and instead of being an overhead quick thump, they extended to both sides and fade into the background artistically.


On the regular, every puck of the guitar felt more distant, giving the illusion that it had more width, but there was no depth, and the music seemed more to the sides than to the front. The LE brought the two guitars to the front, with a bit less width, but they were decidedly in front, and they had more presence. I don't know if I'm describing it right, but the LE sounded fuller, while the regular sounded veiled, distant, and a bit on the hollow side.


Last but not least, on the regular, there were times when the high notes were too harsh. It was overpowering. On the LE, there were no harsh notes. It was comfortable from start to finish.


Another test track: Yoshida Brothers' Storm


With this one, I heard the two banjos more to the sides on the regular, whereas with the LE, I heard the left one more to the front and the right one more to the back. They were sitting directly opposite to each other. All other sounds were running all around either in front or around back. The vocal at the beginning was sent from the front all the way to the back, and I could almost felt the sound wave. That was how good the imaging on the LE was. The iTunes version of the track had more clarity (less high frequency distortion), and when I listened closely, I heard the drums coming from the front, but the cymbals coming from either directly behind, or I was the one playing the cymbals.


Also the harshness of the regular was emphasized here. Cymbals sounded very clipped, whereas with the LE, cymbals were natural. They rang out and then faded into the background.

Edited by Bill-P - 2/10/12 at 9:05am
post #20 of 176
Thread Starter 

Small update. I finally got the time to sit down and browse iTunes again today. They still had Paul McCartney's live concert video up! So I had a listen.


And wow, aside from the fact that I felt like I was sitting in one of the front seats in that small room, every member of the band, including Paul himself, was wearing an ATH-M50!


Edit: well, it seems I found someone in that crowd who wasn't wearing an M50, but only that one guy. I couldn't identify the headphones. Here's a screen cap:

Screen Shot 2012-02-11 at 12.16.18 PM.png

Edited by Bill-P - 2/11/12 at 12:17pm
post #21 of 176

Fostex T50RP probably

Edited by RPGWiZaRD - 2/11/12 at 12:40pm
post #22 of 176
Those look like some Fostex T50RPs sorta.... VERY popular here on head-fi as budget planars that are highly moddable. But there is something different about them, so they may be another Fostex model.
Edited by Mad Lust Envy - 2/11/12 at 12:40pm
post #23 of 176
Thread Starter 

Well, it was Fostex T50RP. Thanks, guys.


Screen Shot 2012-02-11 at 4.10.26 PM.png

post #24 of 176

Kind of happy i didnt go with regular m50's as they are obviously inferior to the LE's now. I went for Creative aurvanas wich wont be much better than normal m50's but for half the price i dont really care! when theyre done with ill get the LE's or when they start running out and the price comes down.

It made me happy- i REALLY liked how the LE's sounded. KRK kns-8400's sounded great aswell.

post #25 of 176
Obviously inferior? You must be kidding. Hyperbole much?
post #26 of 176

I kinda want to buy the LEs based on looks alone :P

post #27 of 176

well he certainly made it sound much better! i was saying that the LE would have my expectations high and if i got m50's id be dissapointed.

I probably cant hear the difference anyway who am i kidding beerchug.gif

post #28 of 176
I'm gonna have to do more extensive testing to see how they compare to one another. They did sound the same, but we'll see.
post #29 of 176
Thread Starter 

I wouldn't say obviously inferior. But the difference is still there, and it's very noticeable to me. It might just be that there is a QC problem with Audio Technica, and so... there are variations in SQ. I have definitely searched enough around Head-Fi to conclude that there are some M50's that sound inferior, and totally different from my experience.


Anyway, just got back from Best Buy and Guitar Center. I was able to audit DT770 80 Ohm, DT880 80 Ohm, Sennheiser HD 650, B&W P5, Klipsch Image One, Sony XB500, then some Bose, and all of the Beats headphones (including the Mixr). In comparison to my M50S LE...


- Beats were out as soon as I put them on. Neither bass nor clarity was up to par. The Mixr sounded brighter than all of the other Beats headphones, but it was not even comparable to the Apple In-Ear that I happened to tug along.


- Bose fared better. QC15 actually sounded nice, but still, no clarity, and not a lot of soundstage.


- B&W P5... now... I expected a lot from these, given my experience with B&W speakers. And I was disappointed to find that these weren't really the headphones they were supposed to be. It was like they stuffed my ears into a box and played music with speakers from outside in. I couldn't really hear any detail well.


- Sony XB500 was warm. They were so warm, they muffled some of my bass-heavy songs. Having read some Head-fi'er recommend these as bass-heavy headphones, I was... surprised to find that they weren't exactly so. My M50S LE had more bass extension, more rumble, more punch, and cleaner sound compared to these.


- Klipsch Image One fared better than all of the above. Soundstage was wider, and there was more clarity. But bass didn't extend as low as I would have liked. XB500 did better in that regard.


Now at Guitar Center...


- DT770 80 Ohm had a lot of bass impact and quality. By that, I mean they were a cut above my M50S LE. As much as I love my M50S LE, I must admit... the DT770 actually beat it in the bass department cleanly in every song I played. Bass was tighter, it sounded like they were further away from me, but the impact was closer, and the rumble was just the right amount and longevity throughout. I have no other word to describe it other than "excellent". Too bad clarity was a clear step below my M50S LE. I think the DT770 mirrored my M50S LE in terms of frequency response in the two extremes. Mid had was about the same for both from what I can hear. Same goes for soundstage. I still prefer my M50S LE's signature, but... wouldn't mind having this kind of bass.


- DT880 Ohm. Wow. I audited these once before, and they still amaze me. Soundstage is clearly above both DT770 and M50S LE. If I have to describe it in words, it was like they took the constricted width of the M50S LE and stretched it by twice the amount. Depth wasn't exactly improved, but somehow instruments from further away sounded... fuller. Clarity was also beyond DT770. But bass was somewhat lacking compared to DT770 to my ears. It was like the woofer was further from me. Also clarity wasn't as extending as M50S LE to me for some reason, so certain instruments didn't ring out the way I liked. I'd say this one has bass and treble right in between that of DT770 and M50S LE, but more soundstage. And mid was actually excellent. It had more "soul" in it from what I can hear, maybe due to the soundstage. Definitely above both M50S LE and DT770 in this department. If it had a bit more treble extension, I'd legitimately consider an upgrade once I get tired of the M50S LE.


- HD 650. For some reason, possibly due to defective drivers after so many people have messed with them, I don't find these particularly striking. Perhaps it's because I prefer a different kind of sound signature? But these sounded harsh to my ears. "s" and "sh" sounds were piercing, and hollow. Bass was severely lacking, and about the only nice thing I can say about them is that mid sounds smooth, but that's it. I definitely think it's possible that these may be defective.



post #30 of 176
Just tried them both today off my NFB 5. The same... I wouldn't say I have golden ears, but I can discern differences, and they both sounded exactly the same. But oh well.

Just wanna mention that they are both FRESH pairs. Perhaps that well worn M50 OP used changed in sound just enough to differentiate between it and the LE. Two fresh M50s with just a few hours sound the same.
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